2017 Africa Reading Challenge

Welcome to the Africa Reading Challenge.

This will be the fifth time that I’m hosting the Africa Reading Challenge.  Details and requirements are the same this year as for the 2012 Africa Reading Challenge, which started with: “I have absolutely no reason for hosting nor urging you to participate in this challenge save for the joy of discovering and reading African literature!” Here are the details:

Challenge Period

January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017


The entire African continent, including its island-states, which are often overlooked. Please refer to this Wikipedia “list of sovereign states and dependent territories in Africa”. Pre-colonial empires and regions are also included.

Reading Goal

5 books.  That’s it.  There will be no other levels.  Of course, participants are encouraged to read more than 5 books.  Eligible books include those which are written by African writers, or take place in Africa, or are concerned with Africans and with historical and contemporary African issues. Note that at least 3 books must be written by African writers.


  • Fiction – novels, short stories, poetry, drama, children’s books.  Note: You can choose to read a number of individual and uncollected short stories.  In this case, 12 such stories would constitute one book.  Individual poems do not count but books of poetry do.
  • Non-fiction – memoirs, autobiographies, history and current events.

Reading Suggestions

  • Cover at least two regions, pick from North Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa, West Africa and Central Africa
  • Include books originally written in African languages
  • Translated fiction from Arabic, Francophone and Lusophone literature
  • You can mix classic and contemporary fiction
  • If you intend to read mostly non-fiction, then please include at least one book  of fiction.

I’m not inclined to push any reading philosophy, I would however like to encourage participants to broaden their knowledge of African literature. For the novice, if you have not read any African lit or if you’ve read one book (E.g. Achebe’s Things Fall Apart):  I would advise a mix of at least two regions, two languages, classic and contemporary, with both men and women writers.

For the advanced reader of African literature:  perhaps there is some gap (country, region, language, theme, gender)  you want to fill or author(s) whose works you want to explore further? You could also, for example:

  • Read only collection/anthologies of short stories
  • Stick to the literary tradition of one country
  • Explore literature written in African languages
  • Read only Lusophone literature
  • Read wherever the urge takes you!

Other Details

  1. Overlap with other challenges is allowed.
  2. E-books and audio books are allowed.
  3. Books in 2017 prior to this announcement which qualify for this challenge can count towards the 5-book requirement.
  4. There is no need to make a list beforehand.  Although most of us love lists, don’t we?

To Sign up:

Leave a comment below to sign-up. You can list the books you intend to read if you’ve already decided. For those with blogs:  write a post on your blog about the challenge (with or without your list) and link to this post.

Reviews and Completion of Challenge

Reviews of books read are not required but are encouraged, especially for those with blogs. Please link your reviews to this post.  If you do not have a blog and would like to guest review on this blog, then please feel free to contact me.

On Books and Reading Lists

Some classic African literature can be hard to find.  Please check your libraries and use inter-library loans if you have access to such services.  I will publish lists of reading materials under various themes until I tire of the process.  Please contact me at kinnareadsATgmailDOTcom if you need any help.

You can subscribe to this blog (see top of the right sidebar) to stay updated on this challenge. That’s it.  Let’s enjoy reading for the 2017 Africa Reading Challenge.



  1. Nice challenge! I think I’ve completed it without knowing about its existence (I’m a PhD student, that’s why). I’ve read the following books:
    – Taiye Selasi’s Ghana Must Go
    – Adichie’s Americanah
    – NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names
    – Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers
    – Adichie’s The Thing Around Your Neck

    All of them deal with issues I’m particularly interested in due to my thesis theme: (forced/voluntary) migration, Afropolitanism, African Diaspora.
    Many of them are very interesting from the point of view of gender studies, as well.


  2. […] I’m currently reading vintage crime by Margaret Millar, some past and present Women’s Fiction Prize nominees, various books about Life on Mars (inspired by Lori McNulty’s story collection)…and I’m adding to my TBR for Kinna’s 2017 Africa Reading Challenge. […]


  3. I know this challenge is way over but I’m going to use it to challenge my self to read more on Africa. Thank you for this. Hopefully I catch it next year.


  4. […] set in the States or the U.K. So between reading about some exciting reading challenges – Africa & Canada – and wishing I could get on a plane right now, I thought why not take a look at […]


  5. […] Kinna’s Africa Reading Challenge actually requires only five books, a list which would be immediatley shortened if I enjoy the work of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o because he has completed three volumes in his autobiographical writings. However, I also plan to include the three books fanned on top of this library stack (I’m trying to read from my own shelves as well as the library shelves). […]


  6. During June I will be posting on six short stories set in Kenya by Farah Ahamed, an award winning author from Kenya. Here is a link to my first post


    • I’m late for the challenge but this will be my first book selection. I know I can do it. Five books before Christmas. here we go.


    • Yes. Nothing is required further to join beyond saying it here, reading the minimum five books and coming back here to talk about the books you’ve read. Thanks.


  7. I guess I’m late to the party cause March is almost over and this challenge started in January but…. I’m joining anyway. I have quite a few African books on my shelves still TBR so I think this will help me a little more 🙂 I don’t have a blog at the moment but I I keep track of my books on Goodreads and Twitter (I just started following you there).


  8. Sounds great, Kinna: I’m in! I’ll send you my link when I’ve gotten to that delightful list-making stage you’ve mentioned!


  9. As usual I am in, even if I do forget to acknowledge the fact! I always look forward to reading your posts and hearing what you are reading. I haven’t read much African fiction so far in 2017: Only “Born on a Tuesday” (Elnathan John) and the last three books in the graphic novel series “Aya de Youpogon”.


  10. I have so far in this period read “Lizard and Other Stories” by Marcella Akita (Ghana) and “Beneath the Lions Gaze” by Maaza Mengiste (Ethiopia) but I would appreciate people recommending more especially if they’re stories about Francophone, Lusophone or Arabic countries.


  11. I fell in love with African fiction, when I read “The Joys of Motherhood,” by Buchi Emecheta, while pregnant with my daughter, almost 35 years ago. Thus far, in 2017, I’ve read the Caine Prize for African Writing 2016 collection: “The Daily Assortment of Astonishing Things and Other Stories.” In addition to enjoying the stories for their own merit, I find the annual Caine Prize short story collections a helpful introduction to individual, contemporary African authors whose work I might want to explore. I’m really looking forward to your lists of suggested reading material.


  12. I did not manage too much African reading last year, so I will join in. I have Moroccan and Egyptian lit on my must read 2017 list and have already read Welcome to Our Hillbrow by Phaswane Mpe (South Africa) which I will go back and add the hashtag to my review.


  13. Dear Kinna :-),

    this is such a wonderful challenge! Thank you for sharing it! I love your homepage and ideas! I just wanted to forward your newsletter to good friends and inadvertanly pressed the wrong button. That is why some funny german words reached you. I wish you and your family a wonderful weekend!




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